ON BEING A WRITER
( formerly HOW TO WRITE AND MORE IMORTANTLY HOW TO BE A WRITER)
4.0 out of 5 stars
Futuristic Romantic Thriller With a Strong Message, August 11, 2013
by Sophia Rose "Guest Reviewer for Delighted Rea... (Southeast, MI, United States)
This review is from: Yellow Peril (Kindle Edition)
On rare occasions, I end up with a book in my hands that isn't my usual fare. I'm not one that typically reads books that are strong on social commentary because I prefer my recreational reading to be escape stuff. When it came to this book, it was actually a little of both blending social commentary with a futuristic romantic thriller set in Australia.
Edgar is a librarian's assistant which might sound like a humble career, but in the 2160s of Australia with his higher education and white collar position, he's reached the highest tiers that a Caucasian can achieve. It's the Chinese at the top of the economic chain with the Indians behind them. In between working at the library and working on his Master's level thesis, snorkeling at the reef is his only form of leisure. He loves the reef and it is there that he meets Stephanie, an Asian Australian who in spite of her upbringing surrounded by wealth is not prejudice.
Edgar and Stephanie tentatively enter a taboo inter-racial relationship while at the same time they begin a project to save their reef from a wealthy businessman who wants to develop the reef into a private marina. Stephanie's parents are not pleased about the relationship and her dad shuns them. Their reef project proves perilous to them as they go up against their wealthy opponent and things go from bad to worse costing them more than they can imagine.
The plot was engaging and fluctuated between pauses comment on how the situation in Australia got the way it did and picking up the pace to reveal a nice strong storyline that offered thriller elements with romance. The voice of the story took some getting used to, but after a bit I didn't find it as distracting. It's mostly told from Edgar's point of view and switches to Stephanie's on occasion.
The main characters were engaging and I really enjoyed getting to know them and I liked them together as a team both to protect the reef and romantically.
In the end, it was unique and different, but a good read. Those who enjoy books that challenge their thinking while offering up a decent story should give this one a try.
Such an eerily probable future if things keep going the way they are... Loved the forbidden romance too! A very enjoyable read :)
Landscape breathes fresh air into the sometimes murky realms of travel fiction. Not only does it appeal to the inner globe-trotter but it also seeks to unearth the connections between body and mind, sex and love. Stephen Faulds expertly narrates this life-affirming novel as the ever-challenging protagonist Mark Brooker seeks to consolidate his midlife crisis with a spiritual quest that knows no boundaries.
From the depths of Australia to the peaks of the Annapurna Circuit, Faulds leads you on a trek like no other as you are guided through beautiful landscapes and tragic encounters.
A highly recommended read for anyone seeking to explore the raw truths of humanity and the fine lines that separate desire and love.
4.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing fiction, 14 Jun 2011
By Lottie Chase - This review is from: Landscape (Kindle Edition)
Ian’s Story – a review
I finished reading Ian’s Story almost two weeks ago now and resisted the urge to review it straight away – not because I did not enjoy it but because I wanted to do it justice.
Quite frankly, my initial reaction to Ian’s Story was a sort of stunned ‘oh my god’. It really is that good. Not until later did my brain kick in to tell me why it was so good. Not since reading Crime and Punishment have I read a psychological novel that delved so deeply into the psyche of a flawed man or made me feel so much compassion for a fictional character.
Ian is flawed and he does end up making an awful mistake, one that teeters on the edge of legal paedophilia, yet in exploring how and why he got to that point, Stephen Faulds makes it possible for us to forgive Ian even though he cannot seem to forgive himself.
Do no make the mistake of thinking that this novel is a justification or apology for paedophilia – it’s not. Just as Crime and Punishment is not a justification for murder, Ian’s Story is not a justification – its a journey, a journey that explores the crime, the punishment and the salvation that can result from such a descent into hell.
Following Ian on this journey is not a casual read. You will not dip into this book on a rainy weekend when you have nothing better to do. It will grab you and it will not let you go until the very last page because, for all his flaws, Ian’s life will resonate with anyone who has ever searched for meaning in life, anyone who has ever been trapped by duty and the desire to ‘do the right thing’, anyone who has ever been lonely or fallen in love with an unattainable mirage. In short, anyone with a heartbeat and human DNA.
On the technical side I might argue with Stephen Faulds about how he structured the story yet when I sat down and thought about how I would have restructured it [were I an editor] I found that I could not really think of a ‘better’ way of doing it. So I have to say that the structure is a little quirky but will make sense at the end. I should add that this quirkiness does not detract from the story or my enjoyment of it.
I cannot fault Stephen Faulds in the area of prose either. His words flowed effortlessly from start to finish with no jarring ‘what the…?’ moments. To be honest I stopped being aware of the ‘prose’ after the first few paragraphs because it did what all good prose should do – it drew me in and carried me along without drawing attention to itself. I did not read about Ian, I saw him, I saw his poor troubled wife, I saw the emotionally impoverished life they lead. Only when I put the book down for the last time did I become aware of how beautiful the words had been.
There is nothing indie about Ian’s Story. It is the work of a mature writer who knows what he’s doing and does it extraordinarily well. More importantly, Ian’s Story has a depth that will appeal to anyone interested in what makes us all human.
Very highly recommended.
Ian's Story - A modern day Crime and Punishment, March 18, 2012
This review is from: Ian's Story (Kindle Edition)
Ian is a good man who strives to do the right thing - by his clinically depressed wife, by the troubled kids he works with and by the friends he loves too much - but no-one is perfect. Like Rashkolnikov in Dostoyevsky's famous novel, Ian commits a crime and does the time but his punishment goes on. Is forgiveness possible? Trust me, you will not want to put this novel down until you find out. Ian's Story is a must read for anyone interested in what it is that makes us all human. Simply brilliant.
Beautifully Told!, June 27, 2012
This review is from: Landscape (Kindle Edition)
Mark Brooker is an art teacher, existing in middle-age. His wife, Alison, informs him that she would like out of their marriage, forcing Mark to make some mid-life choices. He decides, after an unexpected monetary windfall and a similarly unanticipated intimacy with a young woman, to pursue his ambition as a landscape artist. Landscape is a beautifully told tale of mid-life crisis and the surprising new worlds that can open for anyone at anytime, plus the complications that can arise. The Australian countryside and mystery of India are fantastic and wild backdrops that illustrate the main character's life changes as well as Author Faulds relates the journey Mark takes in picking up the pieces of his life.
A Lyrical Narrative of the Human Spirit!, July 3, 2012
This review is from: Ian's Story (Kindle Edition)
Stephen Faulds narrates Ian's fall from grace and Maureen's descent into mental illness in a lyrical style reminiscent of Australian writer Tim Winton. In Ian's Story, the reader finds a man who is troubled by life, who attempts to find solace in his writing, reading, spirituality, his best friend, and the woman he describes as his "soul mate." Told from many points of view, the characters are humanly flawed, with raw emotions and tragic failings clearly depicted. As in Landscape, Faulds has a knack of getting to the core of his characters' motivations and desires and paints a portrait of each one into the mind of the reader. Faulds is more than a writer; he is an artist as well, using the backdrops of the environment to illustrate the actions of his characters.